Holding Obiano Accountable

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After his resounding victory at the polls, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State will kick-off his second term in March next year. David-Chyddy Eleke weighs his performance in his first term against what he promised to do with his new mandate

Four years ago, Chief Willie Obiano won his first term in office, after a vigorous campaign, which involved promises of development in all sectors of the state’s economy.Obiano, while campaigning for the governorship position then had stated that he would ensure massive development in the state through his four pillars and 16 enablers.

The pillars through which the governor said he would drive the development of Anambra were; oil and gas, trade and commerce as well as agriculture. He stated that his vision for the state was to make Anambra State to become the first choice investment destination and a hub for industrialization and commercial activities.

His mission too he said was to create a socially stable, business friendly environment that would attract both indigenes and foreigners to seek wealth-creating opportunities in Anambra State. This, he said he was passionate, very enthusiastic about, just as he said he would continue the programmes of his predecessor.

He also stated that, under his three cs approach of continue, complete and commission, he would ensure the projects initiated by his predecessor were completed.

Drawing close to the end of his first term, Obiano while campaigning for a second term in office told Anambra people that his administration stood by the three cs, and made sure that no project left by the Peter Obi administration was abandoned. He cited roads, saying that in roads, he completed several roads which were not completed by Obi and was also able to build 35 roads of his own from scratch.

Obiano also cited the Agulu Lake Hotel which the previous administration was unable to complete. The hotel which is located in Agulu, the hometown of his predecessor, was a five star hotel meant to boost tourism in the state and was thought by many would be abandoned as a way to spite his predecessor, but Obiano who was in Agulu to campaign to the people of the community boasted that he had completed the project and also reached an agreement with Golden Tulip Hotels, one of the best in the hospitality industry to manage it. He assured that the hotel would commence operation before December.

The governor, who also made promises in health, education, infrastructure, environment, job creation and empowerment among others, told Ndi Anambra during the campaigns that he had delivered on his promises

The governor listed the improvement in agriculture in the state, which now sees it exporting vegetables, yams and other farm produce. In infrastructure, Obiano listed the three flyover bridges in Awka, and several bridges which his administration had constructed.

During a ceremony to present certificate of return to Obiano on his election recently, the, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji as if tasking Obiano on a second term said that the certificate being presented symbolized the mandate received by the governor, but stressed that the mandate was not an end, but a means to an end. He said, “The end here is the development of the society and the people. Your election is not a reward but a responsibility. Responsibility for the people, to improve them and develop the society and the way it is discharged will determine how the people will vote in future elections.”

Between 2018 and 2022 when Obiano would be doing his second term, it is believed that he would not abandon the promises which he made to the people, which was the reason they gave him their mandate. For example, Obiano during this year’s workers day celebration had told civil servants in the state that he would not only increase their salaries, but ensure that they get a better working environment and a chance to be trained by his government. The workers will be hoping that he keeps his words now that he has won a second term.

One campaign strategy that endeared Obiano to the people as observed by this reporter was the publication of all the projects of the governor in all the 179 communities in the state. Chief Victor Umeh who was Obiano’s campaign organisation chairman said the projects published were verifiable. The projects were made possible through the choose-your-project initiative. Under this programme, communities were given N20million to choose and execute any project of their choice, while a local contractor was used for the job. Obiano had explained that the reason for this was to ensure that the contractor would not abandon or even misuse the money, and in the event of such, he could be traced by indigenes of the community since he is one of them.

Most communities in the state got a second tranche of N20million after executing the first project successfully. While some communities built health centres, other built town halls while some did palliatives on their roads and many others. During the campaigns, Obiano had said that if elected, he would continue with the initiative, saying that since each community got a total of N40 million in his first term, the state would witness massive improvement if he was re-elected, as he would pump more N40million into each community. This may be part of the reason for Obiano’s victory, and the communities will look forward to more projects through the initiative.

Again, during the much advertised governorship debate organized by Channels Television, four out of the five candidates that participated in the debate had taken Obiano to the cleaners over his plans to build an airport city at the cost of $2billion in Umueri. While some had said that with airports in Enugu and Asaba, which are all border towns to Enugu, there was no need to waste money on one in Anambra, others had issues with the amount the governor said the airport would cost.

But Obiano who had taken time to speak on the project earlier insisted on being given a second chance to prove his point, and when he got it, he clarified that the airport in Enugu and Asaba were mostly patronized by Anambra indigenes, while adding that those who had issues with the cost of the airport were simply ignorant because he was not only building an airport but an airport city(Aerodrome), and that what was more interesting was that Anambra would not spend a dime on the project.
The governor had earlier in the year flagged off the Umueri airport project, where he took time to explain that the airport which would be completed within three years was being built under the build, operate and transfer agreement would cost the state nothing except the land donated to the company.

The clarification had earned Obiano a loud applause during the debate, but as people say talk is cheap. Having won re-election, it is time for Obiano to put to action some of the statements he made during the campaign, and it is expected that before 2020, the Umueri Airport project would have been completed as the governor had said that the project had a lifespan of three years for execution.

The governor therefore has several tasks to accomplish in his second term, starting with infrastructure, education, agriculture among others. But as the INEC REC had stated before him, how he fares in the task ahead of him will determine the people’s voting pattern in the coming election. Obiano will have to keep this in mind, especially coming from a party that prides itself as Igbo party, which has been re-christened ‘nkea bu nkeanyi’ (this one is our own), there would be need for him to go out in the next four years campaigning to the people on the need to vote an APGA candidate.

As if to put to rest the minds of the people, Obiano had said that he would work harder in his second term than he did in his first. Speaking at INEC headquarters, Awka, where he had gone to pick his certificate of return, the governor said, “Am happy to have picked my certificate of return, which confers on me the assignment of governing Anambra for another four years.

I thank God who performed the miracle that made my 21 over 21(local government areas) victory possible. I assure you that Anambra would continue to shine. God has been with us and will continue to be with us. I will work harder in my second term than I did in the first. We will ensure we leave a legacy in Anambra. Finally, I call on other candidates to join hands with me let us move Anambra forward. Anambra State is bigger than our individual interests, so this is the time to work for Anambra’s interest.”

If Obiano meets the expectation of the people in performance, there is the likelihood that the people will want an APGA government to continue, but if Obiano squanders the people’s goodwill, APGA may lose the chance to remain in power in the state. Already, the sterling performance of the governor in his first term has boosted the chances of the party as 2019 draws near, but how Obiano who is in control in the only state won by APGA fares in the next four years will determine how far the party will go. The ball is now in Obiano’s court, let’s see how he plays.

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If Obiano meets the expectation of the people, there is the likelihood that the people will want an APGA government to continue